The Illawarra economy is set for a huge cash injection next July when thousands of tertiary students descend on the University of Wollongong for the Eastern University Games.
It will be the second time the region has hosted the event which will bring in more than 3000 visitors and generate over $2 million.
‘‘The [Games] will utilise the fantastic sporting facilities at the University of Wollongong as well as throughout the city, and provide a welcome boost to local businesses,’’ Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said.
General manager of Destination Wollongong Mark Sleigh said having hosted the event previously, it was proven to be valuable money-wise, because the demographic was not only there to enjoy the sporting component but the social side as well.
‘It’s a particularly strong event that brings in mass participation over multiple nights,’’ Mr Sleigh said.
‘‘A really important thing to note is it’s not just the hotels who receive benefit, the restaurants, the bars, the clubs were extremely successful last time – and certainly during the quieter months of the year they were having some of their best nights of the year.’’
Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward was also pleased as the region has an excellent track record for hosting major events.
“I’m delighted that the Eastern University Games will return to Wollongong next year, bringing an influx of university students and their supporters to enjoy friendly sporting competition and everything our region has to offer,’’ Mr Ward said.
Participants from universities and TAFE campuses around NSW and the ACT will compete in at least 16 different sports including cricket, ultimate (frisbee), AFL, football, lawn bowls and tennis.
Other previous host cities include Wagga Wagga, Newcastle, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour and Canberra.